Cablegate: Exbs Russia Monthly Reporting Cable


DE RUEHMO #2555/01 2821103
R 091103Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: This cable highlights activities of the Export Control and
Related Border Security (EXBS) Russia Program Office for the period
of September 01, 2009 to September 30, 2009. End Summary

1. A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) delegation visited
Russia September 11-23 to deliver a groundbreaking seminar and to
hold meetings with Russian officials on a variety of strategic
issues. This was the first time in many years that a senior-ranking
member of CBP has led a group to Russia. The visit, coming in the
wake of President Obama's visit to Moscow in July, was very well
received. The EXBS Advisor and Assistant provided extensive
coordination and logistical support in the weeks leading up to,
during, and after the CBP visit.

2. The first-of-its-kind seminar on Supply Chain Security for
Russia was held September 15-17 at Federal Customs Service
headquarters in Moscow. In his opening remarks, Mr. Thomas Corwin,
head of the European section of the International Department of CBP
and leader of the US delegation, emphasized that supply chain
security processes are integrated into World Customs Organization
standards - a point of interest to Russia. The team of experts also
included Mr. Mike Chandarlis, head of the section on foreign customs
cooperation; Ms. Olga Hernandez, instructor; and Ms. Karen Chaisson,
Program Manager for Russia. About 20 Russian officials from various
departments, including enforcement, information technology, policy,
and the Customs Academy, attended the three-day seminar. The
concept of cooperating with enterprises to ensure that goods are
secured at every point of transfer, from factory to destination, is
a relatively new one in Russia. Course participants expressed both
interest in the processes and methodologies of supply chain
security, as well as healthy skepticism, asking many questions
related to training, verification, performance measures, and
enforcement. The CBP experts supplied a wealth of examples from
their professional experiences with supply chain security, making
the theories come alive. Feedback from Russian Customs about
exposure to the supply chain security process was very positive;
further validation came from a press release with photos on the
event, prominently featured on their website. Discussions are
ongoing about future cooperation on supply chain security, including
the establishment of a program for Russia.

3. In addition to delivering the seminar in Moscow, the CBP team
held productive meetings with US and Russian officials. EXBS
appreciates the time that Naomi Fellows and Robert Bond of the
economic and political sections, respectively, devoted to briefings
about the effect of the financial crisis in Russia; economic and
political relations with neighbors such as Central Asia and China;
and the impact of foreign and domestic politics on Russia's foreign
and domestic policies. As CBP's interagency point of contact in
Russia, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) representative
offered his office's support and gave a fascinating account of ICE's
cooperation on enforcement matters with Russian authorities.

4. Another set of successful meetings was held with the
International Cooperation Department of Russian Customs at their
Moscow headquarters. Mr. Sergei Konovalenko, head of the section,
conveyed the Custom Service's appreciation of the Supply Chain
Security seminar and support for further cooperation. He repeated a
theme that he has brought up before with EXBS: the desire for an
MOU between US and Russian Customs concerning information exchanges
about goods and transporation issues; cooperation with the Russian
Customs Academy and counterparts in the US; as well as interest in a
possible IVP for the head of Russian Customs to visit the US in the
near future. Ms. Chaisson explained that there is already in place
a broad general mutual assistance agreement between the US and
Russia, but the US side is willing to consider these and other

5. Before leaving Moscow, the CBP team met with Ms. Elena Kitova,
the head of the development section of the Russian Agency for the
Development of National Border Facilities, also known as
Rosgranitsa. This two-year-old federal agency was created as way of
resolving territorial and political differences between the Customs
Service and the Border Guards. Rosgranitsa mainly deals with the
security of border checkpoint buildings and other infrastructure,
such as computer systems. Ms. Kitova asked CBP's for assistance in
organizing and implementing a fact-finding tour for a small
delegation to include their chief, to observe security of facilities
at US border areas. CBP responded positively, asking for follow-up
through the Russian Embassy in Washington, and promising to keep
EXBS informed.

6. The CBP group next traveled to St. Petersburg, meeting with
Russian Customs officials there and also touring their Customs

Academy. The purpose of the St. Petersburg visit was for the CBP
delegation to evaluate the scope and content of a request by Russian
Customs for advanced training in Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) at
the Customs Academy. Arguably the most memorable part of the entire
CBP visit to Russia was the tour of the Customs Academy in St.
Petersburg, hosted by its director, Mr. Alexander Myachin. It is
not an exaggeration to state that so impressed was the US delegation
with the sophisticated quality level of the instructors, the
students, the curriculum, and the technological teaching aids
(including distance learning capabilities), that they are now in the
process of rethinking the entire course that they had planned to
deliver in early 2010 on advanced NII, to offer a much higher level
of instruction.

8. As part of the NII course content evaluation, the CBP group was
taken to the port of St. Petersburg to observe cargo scanning
equipment in actual use. At the luncheon hosted by senior customs
officers which followed the port tour, interest in CBP's operations
and management methods was very high, as evidenced by a constant
stream of questions from the Russian side on a wide range of topics
from technical specifications of NII equipment to recruitment,
training, and retention practices of CBP officers. It was clear
that both the US and Russian customs officers received strong and
lasting positive impressions from the interactions in Moscow and St.

9. In other matters, EXBS is working closely with the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) and FSTEK, the Russian export controls
licensing authority, as well as with State Department and the
Department of Commerce, on a Program Review which will include an
export licensing exchange. The MFA requested a resumption of
Program Reviews, encompassing not only export controls issues but
also nonproliferation matters, which were last held in 2007. The
licensing exchange is significant in that it was also requested by
the Russian side, and represents the first direct cooperation
between EXBS and FSTEK. Plans are underway to hold the combined
event the first week of February 2010.


© Scoop Media

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